For the last few months, more than 15 campus organizations and athletic teams, along with Scott Rosenberg, associate professor of history, have been working to plan "Survivor: Wittenberg," April 14-15. Proceeds from the event, hosted by Ethan Zohn, the 2001 winner of CBS' long-running reality TV series Survivor, where Africa served as the site, will help feed, clothe, house and educate HIV-positive children and other children orphaned by AIDS in the Southern African Kingdom of Lesotho.
One of the poorest countries in the world where more than 30 percent of the 2 million people have AIDS, Lesotho is home to more than 90,000 orphans as a result of the disease and poverty. Rosenberg, who has taken nearly 90 Wittenberg students to the impoverished nation during three summer service trips in 2003, 2005 and 2006, hopes to raise between $12,000-$15,000 to benefit the Maseru Children's Village, which houses orphaned children and runs a pediatric AIDS hospice. Proceeds will also benefit the Ha Roma Community Group, a village of several hundred people and 40 orphans, which helps to protect orphans from sexual predators. Both villages provide shelter, food, clothing, shelter and school supplies, and both rely on donations to care for the children.
The two-day event will also support Zohn's charitable organization, Grassroot Soccer, which uses the power of soccer and prevention education to fight AIDS. In addition, the program provides African youth with the skills and support to live HIV-free lives.
"Lesotho is an amazing place because the people there do not focus as much on what they don't have but are more appreciative of what they do have, and in many instances that is very little," Rosenberg said. "It is a special place in many of our hearts, and we really want to give back to Lesotho what it has given to so many of us."
Campus organizations supporting the event include Greek sororities Chi Omega, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Delta and Alpha Delta Pi, fraternities Phi Kappa Psi and Phi Gamma Delta, the Wittenberg Dance Team, STAND, Concerned Black Students, Union Board, Habitat for Humanity, the Pre-Law Club, American International Association, Student Global AIDS Campaign and Wittenberg's swimming and diving, women's soccer, volleyball and women's basketball varsity teams. A number of Springfield-area businesses also have already contributed to the fundraiser, including Our Hero, NY Pizza, Coffee Expressions and El Mundo Café.
"So far we have raised around $9,000, but we really want to reach our goal," Rosenberg said.
As part of the weekend’s activities, teams consisting of more than 200 Wittenberg students will compete in Survivor-like challenges on Saturday and Sunday.
"Our activities range from obstacle courses and races to mind games and questions about Lesotho," Rosenberg explained. "We want to make the weekend fun and competitive at the same time."
For more information on "Survivor: Wittenberg," contact Rosenberg at (937) 327-7846 or via e-mail.
Written By: Karen Gerboth
Courtney Burchett '07 contributed to this story
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